I recently had the honor of playing email tag with Michael Sendrow, one of Youngbloods newest members. When he is not serving up overpriced eggs and riding the "7" train, he is jamming to the tunes in his head and dreaming of the Arizona sunset...Anything else you want to know? Please, read on my friend...Read on:
What inspires you to write?
The simple answer is, that I really enjoy it. Writing plays has never been an especially romantic and mysterious thing for me. I see writing as a tangible skill that I enjoy exercising – like building birdhouses or making macramé wall hangings. I think I finally matured into a “career” playwright when I first admitted to myself that writing is a thing I like and that it doesn’t necessarily have to be anything more complicated than that. I don’t have to – and don’t – strive to change the world with every play I write. Writing is just a tangible skill I use to process the world, and I think everyone in some form does what they do in order to processes their experiences. And, frankly, I find it really inspiring when people do things they truly enjoy without concern as to how it defines them or what it means to others. (Of course, this excludes illegal behavior.)
The complicated answer lies somewhere in the core of my reptilian brain. Sometimes I feel that writing is a little like breathing.
Why do you get out of bed every morning?
The prospect of bed sores freaks me out.
And I have stuff to do. I have a pretty healthy work ethic, thanks to my mother insisting I make my own lunches from about the second grade on.
What do you want people to say about you behind your back?
“Here lies David St. Hubbins… And why not?” Wait, that’s what I want my tombstone to say. I mean, wait a minute, that’s how David St. Hubbins responds to Marty DiBergi’s request for him to write his own epitaph in This Is Spinal Tap.
Aside from sentiments of appreciation about all things related to my back – the pleasing discoloration of my leather shoulder bag, the cut of my sportcoat, my ass – I would hope that the root of popular opinion about me lies in my being a generally nice, open person.
Does your sex life make you who you are?
Lately, no. Though my parents’ sex life made me who I am.
If you could close your eyes in one place and open them in another, where would your start be? Where would your end be?
I wouldn’t mind closing my eyes in the middle of a busy shift at work and to open them at the opening night of one of my plays. Other than that, I’m pretty good with where I am right now. I mean, I like my apartment just fine.
What is the first and last book you have read?
I don’t remember the first book I read because I grew up watching hours and hours of television and rarely – if ever – read. Perhaps I can make this clearer – I was the kid who wrote reports on Choose Your Own Adventure books.
The last book I read is Knut Hamsun’s Growth Of The Soil. He’s an incredible Norwegian writer who once publicly ridiculed Henrik Ibsen (to his face!) at a lecture. Oh, and when you read his fantastic books (start with Hunger), try to forget that he was a Nazi sympathizer. It was a, ahem, complicated time for Norway…
Do you like my shoes?
Yes, they’re stylish and sensible.
What type of music makes you feel alive?
I am an unapologetic indie-rock geek. (Though unlike most indie-rock geeks, I’m very non-judgmental when it comes to the musical tastes of others. Just ask anyone I helped out when I worked at the record store in college.) Thanks to my extremely cool older brother, I have no musical skeletons in my closet. Not even during the lean years of the late 80s. (And, by the way, I have no remorse, absolutely none, for buying Motley Crüe’s “Shout At The Devil” on vinyl.)
Music means a lot to me. The first thing I do when I wake up or come home is turn on the stereo. I alphabetize my CDs. I check and re-check music websites. I listen to my iPod on shuffle whenever I’m on the subway. Get me into a conversation about music – over a beer or two – and I can geek out for hours. And if you approached me – without being coaxed – to say that American Music Club never made a bad album (not even “United Kingdom”), we might just be friends forever.
As far as how music figures into my writing, I’m partial to indie rock – unsurprisingly – but like listening to jazz while working on rewrites.
Are you proud of the first play you ever wrote?
I’m very proud of the first play I ever wrote. (I’m not counting that scene I wrote and that my drama class performed in front of all the kids of the high school at an assembly. I think I specifically remember seeing a nerd getting pummeled by a group of staple-spitting cholos.) My first proper play – A Dying Art – is the rawest, most visceral thing I’ve written. It’s about an electronics repairman who has dreams of becoming the world’s greatest snuff filmmaker and ends up dying for his own film because he believes too deeply in the power of his “art.” Well before I had any right to, I think I was calling out artists for being self-centered, manipulative, and disgusting in the pursuit of their “art.” I think that’s pretty ballsy for a young kid.
I was more vicious back then.
Where do you get your character names from?
They always – almost always – are metaphorically relevant to the characters’ roles in the story they’re telling. And they should sound kind of cool. And if not cool, right. We all know how weird it can be to meet a “Jim” who looks more like a “Dan.”
- Michael Sendrow as interviewed by Courtney Brooke Lauria, 11/2006